Fraudster hides behind cartoon characters

Losses and Lawsuits

SACRAMENTO, CA - A Californian man has been charged by federal courts with multiple counts of computer, mail and wire fraud. Michael Largent allegedly stole over $50,000 from brokerages by opening thousands of accounts using the names of famous cartoon characters. Names used included Johnny Blaze from Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider and Hank Hill and Rusty Shackleford from cartoon series King of the Hill.

Prosecutors allege that Largent opened over 58,000 online accounts between November 2007 and May 2008 with the aid of a computer script containing the false names, addresses and social security numbers at brokers including E*Trade and Schwab. These online brokerages make small "micro-deposits", no larger than a couple of dollars, into new customers accounts to verify information.

Largent is accused of siphoning off thousands of these individually insignificant payments, attempting to transfer them to pre-paid cards. According to Wired.com, Largent tried the same trick on Google's online checkout service, accumulating over $8,000 in eight separate Bancorp bank accounts.

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